Getting “Bumped”

We’ve all been in this situation:  we’re at the gate, waiting for our plane, and the gate agent makes an announcement that the flight is overbooked and they’re looking for “volunteers” to take a later flight in exchange for a travel voucher.  If there are no immediate volunteers, the value of the voucher can go up . . . and up . . . and up.

But what if there are no volunteers, at any price?  I’ve never bitten on any of those offers because I would much rather get to where I’m going.  What if everyone on a particular flight took that approach?  I’ve always wondered about that scenario.

united-airlines-man-dragged-out-of-plane-253x189Now we’ve got an answer, of sorts.  On one overbooked United Airlines flight, from O’Hare Airport in Chicago to Louisville, an airport security officer physically assaulted a passenger who was in his seat on the plane and dragged him down the aisle and off the plane so United staff who needed to get to Louisville could take his seat.  Of course, other passengers had out their cell phones and took video footage of the encounter. The video is pretty shocking when you consider that the man who was mistreated was a ticketed passenger who had paid for the flight, checked in, and followed all of the rules.

United told passengers that four people needed to leave the flight and that it was selecting the people who needed to give up their seats to United staffers by random computer selection.  Three of the unlucky people apparently left voluntarily — but when the one passenger refused, he was forcibly removed.  One passenger said that the man had originally agreed to give up his seat, but rescinded his decision when he learned that the next available flight was not until the next day.

Of course, United officials and the Chicago Department of Aviation say that the actions of airport security were contrary to policy, and they’ve apologized.  United, meanwhile, is dealing with a PR nightmare.  How many people are going to think twice about choosing a United flight if, say, an American flight is available?  And for those of us who fly regularly, it’s an eye opener to think that you could be chosen randomly to give up that seat you reserve because an airline has decided that its staff needs to have that seat instead, and then mauled by airport police if you decline.

“Fly the friendly skies,” indeed!

Back From The Bakery

Every year, the Ohio State roundballers may as well start out playing in a bakery, because their opponents typically are cupcakes as far as the eye can see.  The Buckeyes work out the kinks, figure out what kind of rotation they might use, and beat the living snot out of the directional schools, the acronym schools, and the schools with “St.” in their name.

IMG_3322All of that ends, though, when Ohio State plays in the annual Big Ten-ACC challenge.  Then, the Buckeyes play a real, live, major conference foe, often on the road, and don’t win just because they have better athletes.  Then, finally, the Buckeyes need to run an effective offense, need to close the passing lanes and keep their hands up on defense, and need to protect the ball when they are coming up-court.

This year the abrupt change from cupcake-land to ball-busting opponent is even more pronounced than normal, because Ohio State has drawn Louisville in the Big Ten-ACC challenge.  Wait a minute, you say — Louisville in the ACC?  You’re right, it’s weird — but not as weird as Maryland, a founding member of the ACC, competing in the Big Ten-ACC challenge for the Big Ten.

Anyway, this will be a very tough game for the Buckeyes.  Ohio State starts three seniors, but they really are fielding a young team that consists largely of freshman.  The newbies have never played in an atmosphere like Louisville — much less faced the kind of withering pressure the Cardinals typically bring to bear.  And while the Buckeyes have played ten deep, what kind of depth do they have, really, when they are matched up against other elite players who will try to run them ragged?

I don’t know how Ohio State will fare when the tip occurs at 9:30 tonight, but I do know this:  I’m glad to see the Buckeyes play a tough team that will challenge them for the whole 40 minutes.  This is the kind of game that will serve Ohio State well when the young Buckeyes go on the road in the always-tough Big Ten.  If the Buckeyes can represent and bring home a win for the Big Ten, so much the better.